What are the Best Tips for Performing do-It-Yourself Dryer Repair?

Jen Ainoa

Do-it-yourself dryer repair consists of determining what kind of problems or malfunctions a dryer may have. Several steps may be followed to find the problem, or to rule out areas that do not need repair. First, find out whether or not the drum is spinning by listening to or feeling the dryer while it is running. Next, listen to determine if the motor is rotating. If the motor is rotating, but the drum is not, the belt is broken.

The electrical components of the dryer should be checked with a multimeter.
The electrical components of the dryer should be checked with a multimeter.

The drum rides on two rubber wheels and is attached to the rear panel by a ball and socket. The drum is tensioned by a spring loaded idler pulley, so replacing the belt will take some skill, patience, and mechanical know-how. Careful attention to proper alignment is key when reinstalling a drum.

A woman pulling sheets out of a dryer.
A woman pulling sheets out of a dryer.

Do-it-yourself dryer repair often requires that the model number of the dryer be located inside of the door. This model number will be important when doing research on that particular dryer. Research can be helpful in learning how to access various compartments of the dryer, and may be helpful in avoiding unnecessary removal of panels. Safety is a key factor in do-it-yourself dryer repair. Anytime a panel is removed, the dryer must be unplugged.

Another common do-it-yourself dryer repair fix is determining whether or not the timer is rotating. This can be accomplished by turning on the dryer and then setting the timer to see if it moves. If the timer does not move, it must be replaced. To replace the timer, remove the back panel, the knob, the timer retaining bolts, and the timer wire harness. Insert the new timer. Reassemble the dryer in reverse order.

The most common do-it-yourself dryer repair issue is a dryer that spins, but does not get hot. To investigate this problem, first ensure that the exhaust is not blocked or clogged. If ventilation is not the issue, then the problem may lie within the air duct components. Determine whether the front or the back of the dryer has access to the air duct.

A hot air duct houses a thermal fuse, a high limit thermostat, and a heating element, which operate together as power to the heating element passes through the fuse and thermostat. To troubleshoot problems with the air duct, remove wires to the thermostat and thermal fuse. Next, use a multimeter set on continuity and check across each connector on the fuse and thermostat to find a reading. If there is no reading, replace the fuse and thermostat.

If readings are good for the fuse and thermostat, check continuity on both connectors to the heating element using the multimeter set on continuity. If there is no continuity, the heating element should be replaced. Replace the heating element by removing the retaining screws and the old element, and then installing a new element.

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